Tag Archives: mushrooms

A Tale of Three Bennies

Crab Benedict

Dr. Crabby Benedict from Dr. Generosity

I’ve eaten Eggs Benedict three times this week.

We went to three different places this week, and every time I chose a type of (non-meat) Benedict(ish).

This is their story.

Eggs Benedict is probably my favourite “going out for” brunch food. I haven’t mastered poached eggs yet, and I haven’t tried to make hollandaise sauce. I generally don’t feel like putting that much effort into making breakfast. One small challenge – Eggs Benedict is usually hollandaise drizzled over poached egg, perched atop “Canadian” bacon laid over an english muffin. I don’t eat meat usually, and I don’t know if I’ve ever even had a “normal” Benny before.

I always get the fun ones. I probably even pick the ones that I think sound the MOST fun. Sometimes that includes smoked salmon instead of the bacon, usually some kind of vegetable (spinach, asparagus, etc.). Yum!!

The three “Bennies” I had were all very different, but were all really really good. I’d happily return to any of these restaurants!

1. Mushroom Benedict @ Lola’s Commissary (634 Church St.)

Sautéed mushroom on english muffin, amazing hollandaise with whole grain mustard, yummy salad.

A cute little place near Church & Bloor, this was the first time we ventured inside. The brunch specials sounded great (J had some weird poached eggs in a creamy salsa dish… it was kind of like eggs poached in chili, and was really good!) and it had some yummy sounding Bennies, so we had to try it.

2. California Benedict @ Eggspectation (220 Yonge St., Eaton Centre)

Poached eggs on smoked salmon and home fries, topped with sautéed spinach, asparagus, hollandaise and shredded gruyere. No english muffin!

Eggspectation is a chain restaurant, frequented by tourists and whatnot. That said, I’ve always had a great meal there… maybe because 75% of the time I get the California Benedict!! This dish has a good amount of veggies for me, and the sprinkles of gruyere totally sell it for me. I usually can’t finish the potatoes or the toast teepee they insist on putting on my plate.

3. “Special Benedict” (what shall now be known as Dr. Crabby Benedict) @ Dr. Generosity (2197 Bloor St. W)

This one was a “Special Benedict”, as it wasn’t on the regular menu, but the special of the day. Poached eggs on english muffins, topped with snow crab meat, hollandaise, spinach. Served with a side of home fries.

I had never had a Benny with crab before. It was soooooo good; truly decadent. It was also really filling, and I made the mistake of talking while eating so I got full before I could finish. Yeah, I finished it (I don’t judge you!). This restaurant is known for their large portion sizes, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprized. I had never been there before, but I’m sure I’ll go back (even without the Dr. Crabby Benedict – which would be a MUCH better name for this than “Special Benedict”.) 🙂

Daring Risotto

Risotto Ingredients

Some of the main ingredients: Butter, powdered sage and Arborio rice.

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

The thing about challenges… oh wait, I’ve already done that one. Heh. This is my first Daring Cooks challenge, and its poking me right where it hurts. After seeing the previous challenges, and even trying one as a test, I was really hoping to try making some new crazy cuisine. Instead, I’ve been put face to face with my nemesis: risotto.

I’m not hating on risotto, but I really haven’t had much success making it. Honestly, I sometimes think it’s O.K. the day I make it, and then HATE it for leftovers and never want to see it again. I’ve tried it a few times, and have hated it every time.

This is the perfect thing for me to start with.

I’m supposed to be challenged, right? It’s supposed to be at least a little bit hard, and sometimes frustrating. It’s supposed to be a learning experience. So I have jumped into it wholeheartedly. What did I learn? That my old risotto recipe sucks (yup), but that I am still not excited to make risotto (fair enough). My attempt came out pretty good, and I chose some accompaniments that nicely brought out the flavour and accented the texture of the dish. Not bad! That said, I wasn’t brimming with the same pride I had after trying the salmon en croute, or the indian or ethiopian feasts.

A great learning experience, indeed, and definitely a successful meal.


Squash risotto topped with garlic mushrooms, sage butter and arugula.

Part of the challenge was to make the stock from scratch, and while the recommended stock was made with a whole chicken, that would not be the route I would take. Not being a real meat person, I opted to make a mushroom stock, which turned out really tasty! It added a nice woody flavour to the dish. I got inspiration from this recipe, but ended up choosing my own adventure for most of it.

So there is the result of my first challenge. It was a good learning experience, which is what I am looking for with the challenges, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we do next month!

Recipe for the base risotto after the jump…

Continue reading Daring Risotto

Recipe Mashup: Baked Sweet Potato Pasta

This is my usual way of dealing with recipes – I steal from them and I smash them together.

Until I started my blog, I didn’t really follow recipes closely. I usually just use them for inspiration. I figure out what ingredients I have on hand, and I Google my way to a few recipes that sound neat. I take a little bit from one and a little bit from another, and there we go!

Tonight’s dinner was fueled by my wish to bake a pasta dish, and the sweet potatoes that were waiting to fulfill their delicious destiny.

I took most of my inspiration from Martha Stewart: Baked Mushroom Linguine and Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna. Some people like to mock Martha, but honestly I’ve had great success with recipes from her website. I’m not embarrassed to say that I enjoy her show (on the rare occasion I’m able to watch it) and it’s now one of my go-to sites when I can’t think of what to make for dinner.

On that note, I think I need to add her link to my blogroll. Done!

Pasta Mashup - Oven Dish

Mashup Pasta & Sweet Potato Casserole

Soo… here’s what I did: I cooked up some rotini (ok, not either of the recommended types of noodle); baked my sweet potatoes as suggested in the squash recipe; loaded up a cheese sauce with some cream cheese, some Fizzy cheese from Quebec, herbes de provence, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, cayenne and tangy mustard powder; sauteed some mushrooms and onions with mushroom broth; tossed it all together and threw it back in the oven topped with breadcrumbs. Whew!!

Pasta Mashup - Plate

Pretty yummy!

So, how did it turn out? Not bad! The cheese sauce is a little different from my usual (shock! I didn’t put any anise in it!) and I’m usually too lazy to make a meal and THEN put it in the oven to bake. I ended up putting in too many noodles, which meant the sauce wasn’t as vibrant and saucey as it should have been. Blerg! I didn’t think the breadcrumb thing through – it ended up being a little too dry, because the sauce was mostly absorbed into the pasta. So I had to add a little more liquid and stick it back in the oven. Live and learn.